A number of big-name NFL teams have begun offering free streaming services on mobile devices and connected TVs.
The San Francisco 49ers, who have the NFL’s second-most-watched game on television, announced plans Wednesday to stream its games live online.
The team said it would also stream its preseason home game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday, the first of four regular-season games.
The Rams, who rank third on TV with more than a million viewers a game, also announced a partnership with HBO to stream a preseason game in April against the New York Giants.
They will stream their preseason game on Sunday, Oct. 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, which will be their last home game before their bye week.
“It’s a big step,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said.
“It’s very exciting.”
While the teams will offer free streaming for the first five games of the regular season, the NFLPA said it expects to see the NFL introduce a new streaming service to pay for the games.
“This is an exciting time for all of us, and we look forward to working with the NFL to make this possible,” said Chris Givens, a former NFL player and NFLPA executive director.
The NFLPA has been working with some of the teams to help negotiate the new streaming deal.
The companies are in the midst of negotiations with several TV providers and networks, including DirecTV and Dish Network.
The new services would be the first to offer streaming video services to players who cannot afford the high cost of cable.
The companies will begin offering free games to NFL fans by year’s end.
The NFL will pay about $3 billion for a new TV rights deal with the companies, which are expected to generate about $100 million in revenue.
Kroenkes has previously said the league will spend $100 billion in new television rights deals.
“The owners are working together to make sure that we get this right,” Kroen, the Rams’ owner, said in an interview with ESPN.
“We know that we can do this.
It’s about making sure that it doesn’t take away from the NFL, that it puts it into the hands of our fans, and that we’re providing them the best possible streaming experience.”
The NFL’s broadcast agreement with CBS includes a guarantee that a team with a franchise in a city with more viewers will be eligible to play at home in the first four weeks of the season.
CBS owns the rights to NFL Network, which provides the NFL Network’s coverage of NFL games.
A number of teams, including the 49ers and Giants, have been interested in using streaming video for the season opener.
The 49ers are in negotiations with the video-streaming company Hulu to use the company’s streaming video service for the opener.
The Giants announced a deal with Google TV to use Google’s Google Play video-on-demand service to stream their first preseason game against Minnesota on Sunday.
Google’s YouTube has become the dominant platform for live sports in the U.S.